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500 Reasons we love Colombia

We recently reached a huge landmark in our See Colombia Travel Blog , with our 500th post so we thought we should share it with all of you our Official Colombia Travel Bloggers' readers, here's probably the longest post you've ver seen :)

500

This took a lot of time, so we hope you enjoy it. The truth is, there are hundreds more reasons to come and thousands more reasons that we love the country, but we could also boil it down to just one: Colombia is our home.

So thanks, Colombia, for making us all feel at home, whatever corner of the world we’re from.

  • The closeness of family
  • San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia, has spectacular countryside views
  • The Ensenada de Utria National Park, in the department of Choco, is home to a number of unique habitats. The scenery is spectacular, with forest-covered mountains dropping steeply into the ocean
  • Opportunities everywhere
  • It feels like home for so many of us expats
  • The whitewashed buildings and enormous cobbled square of Villa de Leyva
  • Be blown away by the mesmerising landscapes as you catch the train between Cali and Buenaventura to San Cipriano
  • Love is in the air, everywhere
  • Progress is happening
  • Bogota, obviously. Gritty and crowded, but with so much to offer
  • Bahia Malaga, home to the greatest plant biodiversity anywhere in the world. It also hosts an impressive array of animals
  • Hope
  • The Amazon and Leticia. Colombia might only contain two per cent of the rainforest, but it is no less rich in flora and fauna than Brazil or Peru
  • Surprises are around every corner
  • Roots
  • Diving the third largest barrier reef in the world near San Andres
  • Spending some time in Pereira, the largest city in the coffee region
  • New beginning
  • Gratefulness
  • Mongui, located high in the hills of Santander, is one of the most beautiful villages in Colombia, with its impressive cobbled square, green doors and windows and excellent basilica
  • Kindness
  • Most polite people ever
  • Near Popayan is the small town of Silvia, which has a colourful market every Tuesday selling indigenous goods
  • Rafting on the Ariari River
  • Hiking in Purace, with its numerous waterfalls, lakes and trails
  • A dip in the pool on a weekend away
  • Novenas
  • Relaxing on Playa Blanca, off the coast of Cartagena
  • Stability, which is increasing all the time
  • Spending some time escaping the Caribbean heat in Minca, set in the hills of the Sierra Nevada
  • Visiting Pablo Escobar’s country retreat at Hacienda Napoles. Now it is a theme park with a wildlife reserve
  • Salento, the gem of Colombia’s coffee region
  • Calming walks outside the big cities
  • Peace, which we hope is coming soon
  • Zipaquira and its gaudy yet strangely appealing salt cathedral
  • Final Destination – many people have come to settle in this country
  • Cheese in Chocolate
  • There’s so much still to do
  • Potential
  • Success on the world stage
  • A place I can write about, every day
  • So much still to see
  • The sound of birds by my window
  • My baby girl’s first Colombian words
  • My lovely wife
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The way Colombians speak
  • A sunset in Tayrona
  • Medellin. Modern, warm, friendly and full of life and beautiful people
  • Growth
  • I can see the mountains from my room
  • Running in the altitude makes me stronger
  • Business
  • Connections
  • Not boring – at all
  • La Guajira. Probably one of the most otherworldly regions in Colombia. The landscapes are stunning, with massive sand dunes falling straight into the Caribbean in a serene setting that really feels like the end of the world.
  • Morning coffee
  • Interminable beach walks
  • Ipiales, close to the border with Ecuador, known as the ‘city of three volcanoes’
  • We can still make a change
  • Afternoons at the Park
  • Breakfasts in Usaquen
  • Picnics at Parque Choco
  • Having an extended Paisa family
  • Weekends at Santa Fe de Antioquia
  • Watching the sun set over the Llanos
  • Future
  • Egg on steak
  • Good Southern east food
  • Barrichara, known as “Santander’s Villa de Leyva”. Enjoy the heat, the numerous beautiful churches and the symmetry of the red roofs
  • The nice cheap pizza place 2 blocks from my apartment
  • The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay
  • You can walk to Panama
  • Sleeping in hammocks
  • “Que pena con usted”
  • Arepas instead of bread
  • Caldo for breakfast
  • Paseo de Olla
  • Chocoan Food
  • I can buy everything down to shoelaces on the street
  • Asados
  • Birthday Parties
  • Beers and snacks in La Calera
  • Blogtrips
  • Fellow Colombia Travel Bloggers
  • Meetings at Juan Valdez
  • Lunches at La Mar
  • Enjoying the warmth of the people in Cali
  • Medellin during the Flower Festival
  • Guatape – a colourful little lakeside town near Medellin with a promenade and restaurants
  • Chiglet
  • “Con Gusto”
  • “A la Orden”
  • “Me Regalas”
  • Arepa Trifasica in La Guajira
  • Parque Nacional
  • Chocolatinas Jet
  • Valle Cocora’s ethereal landscape of 70-metre high wax pines soaring over the verdant landscape
  • Milo everywhere!
  • Chocoramo
  • Deliveries!
  • The stunning crying rocks of Cerros de Mavecure
  • Centro Cultural Garcia Marquez
  • The Pacific paradise of Ladrilleros
  • Ana’s Cupcakes
  • El Gato Gris
  • El Perro Negro
  • Madre Monte
  • El Mohan
  • Se va el Caiman
  • La Pata Sola
  • El Sombreron
  • El Pasaje Hernandez
  • A Canelazo in Monserrate in a cold day
  • Surviving a Taxi ride
  • An afternoon at Parque Explora
  • Sierra Nevada el Cocuy – exploring the snow-capped mountains and enjoying the nearby Valle de los Cojines
  • Orchids
  • Roses
  • Rafting in San Gil
  • Replacing tea with coffee
  • Hard Work
  • The intensity of… Well, everything
  • Flinging yourself off a mountainside and going paragliding in the stunning Chicamocha canyon
  • Learning to be patient at trancones
  • Sunrise in Bogota
  • The smiling faces on small kids in small coastal towns
  • Knocking back copious amounts of rum at Donde Fidel, Cartagena
  • The sounds of children laughing and playing soccer in the streets
  • The wrinkled smile of the woman cooking plantain for lunch
  • Home-cooked meals shared with strangers
  • Wallowing in the mud volcanoes of Arboletes
  • New friends waiting to be met
  • Family walking hand-in-hand down warm cobbled streets
  • Being dragged onto your feet for the first time to timidly dance salsa with a local
  • Later, taking a salsa lesson from a pro and feeling like you have two left feet
  • Finally just sitting back and people watching at a salsa bar
  • Making a toast with aguardiente
  • La Piedra del Peñol, an enormous monolithic rock that rises menacingly above the surrounding lakes and islands
  • Trying your first arepa
  • Trekking through the country’s many incredible routes
  • Finding out all the charms of local dishes
  • Lending a hand to make a classic home-cooked meal
  • Eating a whole bandeja paisa
  • Learning to dance cumbia and shaking your hips like your life depends on it
  • Falling in love with juices – blackberry, strawberry, lulo. Oh my!
  • Learning the quaint differences between music of different regions.
  • Learning to swear in Español, try not to offend anyone though ok!
  • Eating freshly-caught fish with your toes in the sand on the Caribbean coast.
  • Laughing at the mistakes you make with the language… I’m embarrassed, not pregnant!
  • Playing Russian roulette with the menu and ordering soup with cow’s intestine. Yummy.
  • Watching a football match at El Campin, in Bogota
  • Playing chess with locals in Bogotá
  • Roll your tshirt up and show off your carb belly
  • You can ride a horse in the countryside, at night and watch the moon rise over bogotá, delightful
  • Buy delicious street food from vendors who have been working on the same corner and perfecting their recipes for years. They’re not all good though, avoid the dogy ones unless you want gastro
  • Watch the locals dance their traditional dances at street parties and watch with a bit of envy but a lot of love
  • Visit the places you’ve read about in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books
  • See Maradona’s signature on your chair in Andres Carne de Res
  • The picturesque Caribbean islands of San Andres and Providencia
  • Meet the locals and find out what it’s like living in the happiest country in the world
  • Learn how to cook arepas from scratch
  • Medellin’s Parque Botero
  • Walk the streets of a colonial town and have a beer at the local tienda
  • Buy a poncho and try to fit in with the locals, good luck!
  • Try the plato tipico in every town you visit. Bandeja Paisa, Ajiaco, guinea pig!!
  • Watch couples in love dance salsa in the hot streets of Cartagena
  • Climb mountains, visit Suesca and learn about the climbing history of the region
  • Deep in the south of Colombia is Las Lajas sanctuary, a stunning monastery seemingly stuck in a daunting canyon
  • Spending a night under the stars in the Tatacoa desert
  • Aracataca, home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Have lunch at hole-in-the-wall restaurants that don’t look like much to begin with but are full of love and great food past down from generation to generation
  • Isla Gorgona, formerly a prison island in the Pacific. The prison has now been all but swallowed up by the jungle and the wildlife here is spectacular
  • Watch kids dance to traditional music, the bare feet tapping the hard ground
  • Meet up with old friends and make new ones as you discover the country together
  • Become addicted to the amazingly horrible Tele Novelas
  • Eat empanadas with aji
  • Take a boat to the Caribbean islands and feel the air on your skin
  • Get a massage from a local on the Caribbean beaches
  • Listen to reggae, drink a beer and sink your toes into the Caribbean sands as you watch the sunset in San Andres
  • Popayan’s whitewashed houses and the nearby hot springs
  • Catching a small bus with the locals, getting lost then finding your way again
  • Sombreo Vueltia’o!
  • Eat pig off a spit in the street with the whole neighbourhood
  • Dance on tables to music you’ve never heard of in the biggest clubs of Medellín
  • Walk the cobbled streets of Cartagena in the afternoon heat while eating an ice-cream
  • Sit on Cartagena’s old wall and watch the sun set
  • Near the border with Panama is Capurgana, which is rapidly growing in popularity as a beach resort with both Colombians and foreigners
  • Try food without asking what it is, if you find out what it is you might not try it
  • Eat Lechona in Tolima
  • Eat trout at a trout farm hidden in Colombia’s mountains
  • Kea, in Bogotá
  • Learn a Musica para Planchar (Ironing Music) song, visit Cabaret club in Cali and cry into your cocktail
  • Coming face to face with Colombia’s history and ancient cultures as you explore mysterious statues and primitive tombs in Tierradentro and San Agustin
  • Visit Cali’s Petronio Festival and celebrate Afro-Colombian culture
  • Watch kids on the coast fish with nets and catch their lunch for the day
  • Go on a road trip and drive through the countryside, watching the landscape change as you go along
  • Falling asleep in your hammock
  • Watch live bands play original music that mixes traditional beats with up-to-date rhythms
  • Eat sancocho from a pot on hot coals on the side of the road, you probably won’t regret it. You might though
  • Learning that pretty much anything can be fried
  • Eating a Cholao (a drink with fruit, condensed milk and ice) on a hot day in Villeta
  • Playing with phosphorescents in the ocean
  • Sit and watch the sun set over Bogotá from Monserrate with an agua panela in hand on those chilly evenings
  • Try fritanga, go on, just give it a go. What’s fritanga? Fried animal parts, as far as I can tell
  • Visiting a dance school and give the local dance styles a go!
  • Learning the latest Michael Telo and Carlos Vives song and get ready to sing it on a big night out
  • Meeting more and more foreigners as the country’s reputation improves
  • Ordering an oblea off a street corner
  • Visiting Andres Carne de Res and noshing n traditional Colombian food with an updated edge at the epic restaurant/night club
  • Once you’re done eating it is time to dance and enjoy with the other 3,000 guests that frequent this place
  • Visiting Mompos (sometimes spelt Mompox), a town which seems to be stuck in time, where locals spend their evenings chatting on their porches and watching the world go by in the stifling heat
  • Visit a fruit market and spend next to nothing on a weeks-worth of fruit and vegetables
  • Starting to putting aji on everything!
  • Hearing the incessant backpacker chat of “it’s not that dangerous anymore”, and knowing that you’ve been privvy to this information for years
  • Eat to Tamales for breakfast!
  • Drinking a lulada in the hot Cali heat.
  • Treat yourself by spending the day at the hairdresser – get a mani, pedi and your hair done without breaking the bank
  • Learn that frijoles are a great accompaniment to… anything
  • Climbing up to Monserrate and being rewarded with incredible views of Bogota (on a clear day)
  • Reading about all the crises back in your home land and realising just how good you have it here
  • Ordering seafood when you’re visiting the coast and enjoying the freshness with each bite
  • Frying your own plantains
  • Baranquilla. Colombia’s fourth city may be polluted and heavily industrialised, but come in February for South America’s second largest carnival and see the city come to life in an astonishing explosion of colour
  • Stay for Christmas and enjoy all the Christmas food. Bunuelos, Natilla!
  • Wake up to a load of eggs
  • Find a bakery, take a seat and order a pandabon con boccadillo. Watch the world go by outside while you enjoy your sweet bread.
  • Dance until 5am in the morning, learn what it means to say your hips don’t lie
  • Learn the warm ways of Colombian families who invite you into their homes and let you camp in their front garden
  • Make sugarcane juice from scratch and drink it in the summer heat
  • Taking a ride up the mountain on Medellin’s metrocable
  • The startling variety of towns within a short drive from Bogota. Worth a mention are Tabio, Tocaima, Chia, La Mesa, Melgar and Anapoima
  • Cucuta is surprisingly nice for a border town and well worth wandering around before you head into Venezuela
  • Tayrona National Park. Probably one of the most iconic images of Colombia, the huge imposing rocks lording it over the pristine Caribbean sands
  • Lie in a hammock with no intention of moving with a view of the Caribbean ocean
  • Braving the Darien Gap for the ultimate adventure in some of the densest tropical jungle anywhere in the world
  • Walk the four-day trek to the Ciudad Perdida and wake up every morning to a cup of tea and the view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • You’ll learn to put cheese on EVERYTHING
  • Ride a canoe down the Magdalena River spotting wildlife
  • Drink a cold avena accompanied by a bunuelo.
  • Dance, sing, eat and drink with some of the most friendly people you’ll ever get the opportunity to meet
  • Bogota Beer Company‘s delicious selection of home-brewed beers
  • Driving from Medellin’s airport down a mountain road with spectacular views of the city
  • Nuqui and north along the Pacific coast. Sample the local marmalade and relax in beautiful ecolodges on the beach
  • Wok‘s sushi
  • The fact that there are pubs
  • The love of football
  • The incredible heat of Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, might put you off, but this is a good place to stop off before you venture into the desert. You can also pick up some wonderful handmade wayuu handicrafts
  • The fact that the National Museum was also once called El Panopticon. A bit spooky.
  • Sharing a cheeky bottle of aguardiente with friends
  • The fact that a doorman near my house plays the accordian every day
  • Las mamacitas
  • The fact that my doorman always asks for a beer when I bring some home
  • The fact that my doorman drinks said beer while working
  • The fact that a blog like ours can get featured on TV
  • Water comes in a bag
  • Rum comes in a carton
  • Whatever you need can probably be found less than a block away
  • Drinking in “tienditas” that only actually sell beer
  • Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast is a lively and bustling city with incredibly friendly locals. The nearby beaches, however, are the biggest draw
  • Being told you have to try what is effectively tripe soup (mondongo), knowing it’ll be disgusting but trying it anyway
  • Corrientazo
  • The fact that my friends think I’m brave and treading new ground when really Bogota is a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis
  • The fact that macho men get manicures and don’t see any irony in that.
  • A weekend away in a finca
  • There are buses about the size of a car
  • The mountains that surround Bogota
  • The self-belief of Paisas
  • Costeño humour
  • All the things on our list of weird Colombian cultural quirks
  • The warehouse parties of La Candelaria
  • La Villa
  • Beer for less than a dollar
  • El Bistro in Cartagena
  • A fridge full of Poker
  • Fernando Botero
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • La Estrategia del Caracol
  • The underground music
  • Cracking out some dutty grinding to reggaeton and it being socially acceptable
  • Learning Colombian slang
  • Pasto, near the border with Ecuador is a pretty city overlooked by green hills on one side and a volcano on the other. It is perhaps better known for its festival of los Blancos y Negros
  • Nick’s sandwiches in Bogotá
  • I can watch all Saturday’s Premier League games as they happen
  • The array of colourful trousers worn by old men
  • The Bogotá Graffiti Tour
  • The fact I see more British flags here than I do in Britain
  • That even in Bogotá, you’ll still find there’s so much more to learn, as evidenced by this post from Richard McColl
  • Colombia is the only South American country to have both a Pacific and a Caribbean coast
  • Villavicencio and los llanos. This is home to the country’s cowboys, where the great, sparsely inhabited plains stretch some 800 km east of the city
  • The media attention Colombia has received recently
  • Parque Bolivar
  • Lago de Tota, Colombia’s largest natural lake
  • The Botanical Gardens in Medellín
  • Casa Amarilla, Mompox
  • Bucaramanga, the capital of Santander, has a small colonial centre and some great parks, squares and restaurants
  • Sapzurro
  • The bus signs that you can’t actually read but look great on your wall
  • The masks from all over the country
  • The fact that I found salt & vinegar crisps in Carulla recently
  • Aromaticas
  • The colourful handmade blanket I got my niece
  • Refajos
  • Churches, churches and more churches. Any style and size you could possibly imagine
  • Pink dolphins
  • The fact that people eat ants, even if I find them pretty disgusting
  • The fact that no matter how small the pueblo is, there’ll still be a fiesta on the weekend
  • El Dia Sin Carro
  • Who could fail to love a country that worships Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon?
  • Paying as much rent for an entire house as I would for a tiny room in London, and still being in one of the best neighbourhoods in the city
  • Karaoke in Colombia is something you really have to get into. The absolute, unbridled enthusiasm with which you, as a foreigner, will be cheered along with is something to behold
  • Santa Fe de Antioquia, north of Medellin, retains much of its colonial charm, with beautiful cobbled streets and an attractive main square
  • Squeezing far too many people inside a taxi on a night out
  • The regional pride everyone feels about their own particular corner of Colombia – and the fact that this infects the expats, too
  • Colombinglés
  • People still think the English are erudite, polite and pronounce words properly. If ya fink abou’ i’, I s’pose we do speak qui’e well, innit?
  • Every time I eat a Milky Way, I think to myself “wait, this is actually a Milky Way!”, but then I realise no, it’s still a Mars Bar.
  • Strolling along Cartagena’s old walls
  • Colombia’s pool halls are full of character and kitsch
  • Empanadas from the market at Usaquen
  • Helados de Paila
  • Enjoying the climate of Girardot, the Bogotanos’ escape from the big city
  • For a completely different kind of night out, you can explore Primero de Mayo in Bogotá
  • The fact that I can say “helados de paila” and chop my neck and it never gets old or not funny
  • I’m going to a wedding on the beach this weekend, and that’s something I never really thought I’d get to do
  • Falcaaaaoooo!
  • Bogotá Bike Tours
  • Paloquemao Market, where they have more fruit than I’ve ever seen in my life
  • The country has an ability to shock, surprise and completely do away with preconcieved expectations – my own included
  • The ginger peoples of Boyaca
  • The English-style buildings that pop up around Bogotá – particularly those around Chapinero
  • That I hear this sentance so much: “Sorry I don’t really speak very good English,” coming from people that are pretty much fluent
  • The frankly outrageous plethora of national parks
  • Monkeys
  • The Universidad Nacional campus
  • The characters you meet on your travels, particularly eccentric tour guides in Tatacoa Desert and wise old Paisa dudes in Santa Fe de Antioquia
  • When a taxi driver tries to overcharge you and you tell him no, he just accepts it and charges you the correct amount. No arguments, no hustling, just a quick “que pena”
  • The fact that snow-capped mountains can be only a couple of hours from semi-desert or humid, tropical towns
  • Sloths!
  • Old men on buses swigging aguardiente to help them sleep through the journey
  • Weird little differences you can’t explain, such as the frequent use of Caps Lock when typing
  • The blaring reggaeton and vallenato that people play on the Coast through huge speakers attached to their bikes
  • Beirut’s delicious bread and actually spicey dip for said bread
  • Calling everyone ‘vecino’
  • Stunning bus journeys on winding mountain roads, impressive plains or through dense forests
  • La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic centre
  • Colombia’s selection of flowers
  • The amount of creative people we’ve come to know here in the country, including alejandrawing
  • Our Colombian drinking buddies, that stick it out regularly until 5am with their house parties
  • Mochilas
  • Marveling at the remarkably well-preserved dinosaur fossil, just outside Villa de Leyva
  • Champeta!
  • The absurdity of a group of Colombians singing a rendition of “Happy Birthday”
  • Random shouts of English words at foreigners, particularly “bye bye”, “hello”, “thank you” and “I eh don’eh espeak eh Engleesh”.
  • Caño Cristales, known as the rainbow river, does exactly what the name suggests. Owing to the microorganisms living there, the river changes colour in a spectacular fashion
  • Listening to vallenato in Valledupar
  • Cycling around the country, especially in the spectacular coffee region
  • The number of undiscovered colonial towns that, in many other countries, would be considered tourist hot spots. Here, they’re pretty much just towns
  • Immersing yourself in the tranquility of Sapzurro, the last sign of civilisation before Panama. There are no roads and only about 1000 inhabitants
  • Seeing how many times I can use the adjective “sassy” when talking about Cartagena
  • That I can blankly stare and nod at someone speaking Spanish and, even though they know they’ve lost me, they’ll keep speaking just as fast and fill any potential awkward gap with more of their own conversation
  • The Andes. The imposing and majestic mountains dissect the country and are awe-inspiring to say the least
  • Open discussions and open emotions – this is heart on your sleeve territory people
  • The Colombia national football team’s potential – they just ranked higher than England in the FIFA World Rankings
  • Valderrama’s hair
  • Higuita’s scorpian kick
  • Dapper Old Gentlemen. Enough said.
  • The Transmilenio Mosh. No really: I still enjoy how ridiculous the frantic press of human bodies is. I think it reminds me of the good old Grunge days. I also enjoy farting on packed buses.
  • Taxis: TROPICANA! TROPICANA! 102.9!!! How they love that salsa radio station!
  • Punk Chicks with Dyed Red Hair. Swoon.
  • Puerto Nariño, a village on the banks of the Amazon where motorised traffic has been prohibited
  • The San Andresito Show: I love how all the vendors at this tax-free haven are consummate performers. It’s hard to keep your head and not get swept along with their acting skills.
  • The fierce pride and love exhibited by many Colombians about arepas, which I can generally take or leave.
  • Street callers, particularly Minutos Ladies.
  • The way the kindly and majestic Monserrate looms above my house, never failing to shed its aura of magic, no matter what the weather’s like.
  • Telling people not lucky enough to be here that, “Yes, I live in Bogota. Colombia. That’s right: Colombia.”
  • How even simple things here can turn into intense emotional experiences: getting a haircut, catching a bus, working for a blog.
  • Women perched atop ridiculously high heels cutting it up on the salsa floor without as much as a single miss-step.
  • Bathing in the hot springs of Iza and Paipa
  • Learning about coffee production whilst staying at a finca in the coffee region
  • Bahia Solano, on the Pacific coast, is great for diving, marveling at exotic fish and exploring a sunken naval vessel
  • Who doesn’t love a tienda (little local store with everything)? Fools, that’s who!
  • Being warned that quite tame food is very, very spicy. I tend to ignore this warning these days; and I usually find this act justified. It makes me feel tough, somehow. OK; I’m a loser, I admit it.
  • The amount of hot-dogs and hamburgers I eat here. Way more than I ever would back in Australia.
  • Watching soccer being played in parks with flair, passion, and sneakiness
  • Soldiers and policemen armed with AKs and mobile phones. Being grateful that I’ve only ever seen them use the latter.
  • Obleas: the brash friendliness of their vendors; their comprehensive list of available ingredients; their tooth-hurting goodness; and the way you can never eat one of these wafers without part of it getting on your shirt. I dare you to try.
  • There’s so much arty, and so little farty (except for when I’m on the Transmil)
  • Horse-riding in an amazing variety of landscapes
  • Pamplona, located in a beautiful, green valley, surrounded by rugged mountains
  • Todo Ricos. Totos Amazeballos.
  • Hipsteros y hipsteras. Naaaaaaaaaw.
  • Flea markets. I love the flea markets. That doesn’t make me a hipster.
  • Ciclovia. The opening of main roads to bikes and feet makes every Sunday a bit of a festival
  • Chicken buses. Adventures that bring you closer to your fellow passengers.
  • Owning the term, gringo, good-naturedly.
  • Palomino offers a more peaceful alternative to some of its neighbours, with beautiful Caribbean beaches to rival those of Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona
  • How many outrageously good things have happened to me when I’ve been open to them.
  • When people get on at the back of buses and pass their fare forwards for the driver – everyone gets involved
  • Shopping districts. Current favourite: the Hat District; just down from Plaza Bolivar.
  • My pride and relief in finding the Second-hand clothes district in Chapinero. That doesn’t mean I’m a hipster: I was wearing them before it was cool. Oh…
  • Piranha fishing in the Amazon
  • The builder at my house who sings vallenato with much enthusiasm and apparently little training. Like, almost nearly too much…
  • Ex-pats here. I generally find them passionate about the country they’ve made home. Also, they’re usually fluent in Spanish, which is an infinite source of inspiration for new expats.
  • Tunja, en route to Villa de Leiva from Bogota, has some fantastic colonial mansions
  • Being disappointed to discover I wasn’t particularly tall in Korea; not being short here is quite special.
  • Dogs. There are lots of praise-worthy canines in this country. Real dogs; not little rats that got ambitious.
  • Mango with salt, chilli and lemon. OK, so, fresh fruit and juices in general. So many kinds. So much. So good.
  • Plantain. Naaaaah – just kidding. Alright, so sometimes it’s OK. Doesn’t mean I’m going to marry it or anything.
  • The game show phenomenon that is Do Re Millones. Handsome, but humiliatingly cheesy host; live music; and a Korean model who is somehow OK with being given a quasi-Japanese name. A constant source of bemusement.
  • While on the topic of television: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!
  • Whale watching on the Pacific coast
  • Bogota’s museums, including the Botero Museum, the Gold Museum and the National Museum
  • Skateboarders. The longboard seems to be favoured here.
  • Metal-heads. Colombia loves its heavy metal, and I love that it does.
  • Sitting down to lunch menus at cheap little local restaurants, and wondering what exactly I’ll get. I’m usually happy with the outcome.
  • Playing up my Aussie-ness. I swear that I swear more here than I ever would back home.
  • Intense debates about which is better; Aguila or Poker. It’s just the same beer in the same bottles with different labels, guys.
  • How this country’s magic has grabbed hold of me, and won’t let me go. I’m not even supposed to be here still…
  • Amacayacu National Park in the Amazon region has an astonishing array of wildlife
  • The salt flats of Manaure, past which there are some lagoons that are home to flamingos
  • Jose Asuncion Silva. The poems; the name; the 5,000 peso note. The beard. Something to aspire to. Maybe not the early death thing, but otherwise…
  • How cheerfully and brazenly helpful so many Colombians are. Even if they don’t really know how to help you.
  • Moustaches. Colombia is a Facial Hair Friendly Zone.
  • Visiting Medellin’s Pueblito Paisa to sample some local delicacies and spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the views of the city
  • The word, “chevere.” Bonus Round: “superchevere.”
  • This is going to make me sound like a creep, but… Public Displays of Affection. I find it hilarious, if a little disturbing, about how much of it goes around
  • Knowing the difference – and having a preference – between  Andean and Paisa ponchos. I prefer the brightly coloured Andean sort; but the Paisa ones are pretty boss as well.
  • The usage of other country’s names here. Not only do we have a city called Armenia; but tiendas called Ghana, and bakeries called Ireland. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.
  • The intense politeness of people; especially in the capital: “Si, Señor;” “Con gusto, Señor.” Makes one feel special, don’t it?
  • Music. Everywhere.
  • For a different view of Bogota to that you might get from Monserrate, head up the Colpatria Tower, Colombia’s tallest building
  • Cali’s fantastic contemporary art museum, ADN
  • Mullets and mullet-related hairstyles. Look around you: they’re everywhere!
  • The stripes on security guards’ pants. And their sharp hats. Makes them look pretty official; even if all they might be doing at the time is having an ice-cream or taking a bit of a nap.
  • The Sunday markets in Usaquen. Funky funky.
  • AC/DC are gods here. It’s good to see these Aussie lads getting the recognition they deserve. They are dynamite, after all.
  • Flying over dense, seemingly-endless jungle from Bogota to Leticia
  • The use of the adjective “Swiss” as a marker of quality. I understand it when it’s related to precision watches; but… fried chicken? Really?
  • Similarly, the use of “gourmet”, when talking about fried goods
  • While we’re on the subject of fried chicken: Yum. And, the surgical gloves utilised while chowing down on a drumstick. And, honey on fried chicken. That’s right. Honey.
  • How you can see a brand-spanking new BMW behind a donkey, behind a Chiva party bus, while waiting to cross the road.
  • Neiva, gateway to the Tatacoa desert, is a pretty city, with a number of charming little squares and overlooked by the snow-capped Nevado del Huila
  • The little extra bit of juice you get after your freshly-squeezed orange juice has already been filled up.
  • The white doctor’s coats orange juice squeezers and other street vendors don.
  • Books. Everywhere. Particularly in Bogota; and the high literary quality of a lot of them. It’s not so much Fifty Shades of Crap being sold at the supermarket; more like Noone Writes to the Colonel.
  • Christmas: how all of December just becomes one big party.
  • How I can blame my poor level of fitness on the altitude. I tend to blame a lot of things on the altitude, actually. That, or society.
  • The new life prams and shopping trolleys get here as curiously effective street vendor carts.
  • The pig’s head that never fails to attract me to the lechona shop. Mmmmmm so much pigfat. Lechona light?? But why? Next you’ll be trying to sell me non-alcoholic beer!
  • You said, beer? With my lunch at a burger joint? While I’m at a beach with no shop in sight? While I’m walking down the road? Yes, thank you, Señora.
  • Juan Valdez. It’s 10 in the morning, and you’re offering me a shot of whiskey in my latte? Just watch yourself, now, guys.
  • The gargantuan size of pizza slices at Wilder’s Pizza, La Macarena. Yabba dabba do.
  • Sneaking into one of the hundreds of universities; having a coffee, and pretending I’m a visiting Professor. I think the elbow patches on my jacket help.
  • Sweet on sweet. Figs in syrup just scream out for some caramel on top.
  • Carbs on carbs on carbs. If you’ve got some rice and arepas on your plate, you better have some chips as well; just to make sure.
  • The studied indifference of waitresses at bars. They’re just playing hard to get, you know.
  • Oregano as a condiment on the tables of pizza/pasta restaurants.
  • The little trinkets made out of wire: frogs, birds, bikes: the guys that make them do it in a wink of an eye and with consummate flair.
  • The street performer “statues” – Michael Jacksons, Coal Miners, Soldiers, Weird Forest Sort of Guy. They may be a little creepy, but they’re kinda cool, too.
  • The old guys that set up karaoke machines out on the street and then bellow along to old classics. I’m not sure whether they think they’re busking; performing a public service; or what. And I don’t care, either – I love it
  • Thirty-six hours by boat from Buenaventura on the Pacific coast is Isla Malpelo, a beautifully isolated island, which is one of the best places in the world to see hammerhead sharks
  • Being told I should go to Medellin. When I ask why, it’s always the same formula: “it’s a beautiful city; beautiful weather; they have a Metro. And beautiful women.” All that other stuff was merely useless preamble. They really just wanted to say that Medellin is populated with beautiful women
  • Hippies and hip-hop hopefuls busking on chicken buses and restaurants. They’re often surprisingly good
  • Learning about Colombia’s rich heritage of indigenous people that are scattered throughout different regions in the country
  • Miami is considered Colombia’s “back garden”
  • Feeling like my neighbourhood has adopted me as their own personal foreigner. I feel a little like a special boy whenever I head to the local restaurant, bakery or tienda.
  • Walking home from a night out like a zombie while people are exercising on Ciclovia
  • Checking out other people’s blogs, and seeing all the different takes of life in Colombia
  • How many pretty parks and plazas there are around the place. Pretty pretty parks and plazas
  • Jumping, sliding and abseiling down Villeta’s seven waterfalls
  • Being told to “take care” by pretty much every Colombian I meet. It’s nice to be worried about.
  • Trying to explain the sport of cricket to locals. Getting baffled looks that communicate: “I don’t think I understand. You say you love it; but it sounds so weird and boring. You sure?”
  • Getting less and less worried about being on time to things. Just take it easy, guys: this is Colombia!
  • Talking about the weather. I’ve always enjoyed talking about boring things with an incommensurable level of enthusiasm; and I feel that many other people in this country do too.
  • Being given little bits of string to wear around my wrist. Now I feel like a part of something bigger. It sure beats a tattoo of the Southern Cross on my neck.
  • The lack of maps in Colombia, and discovering the reason behind this. If you don’t know, just ask somebody. Why bother carrying around an awkward, confusing lump of paper anyway?
  • Bumpy boat rides
  • Proudly explaining to ignorant friends how Colombia is actually spelt. A “U,” indeed!
  • Calling Bogota “the Bog,” and the untold hilarity that ensues.
  • Getting to write about all the silly things that I get up to in this country, and being able to say it’s actually my job.
  • Coffee Cowboys. I think I want to be a cowboy.
  • The phenomenal array of flora
  • The phenomenal array of forna
  • The warm-heartedness of everyone I’ve got to know over here. Youse guys are the real reason I keep on saying, “I think I’ll stay one more month.”
  • Trying to help someone with an itinerary and every time falling short, since you can’t do everything you need to do in just one trip. Then smugly smiling to yourself because you live here, and you can do it
  • The fact that Colombus never set foot on this country named after him
  • There’s a British cemetary in Bogotá
  • Acandi, a quaint fishing village with a spectacular bay and calm waters
  • Seeing a Japanese dude playing a didgeridoo on Septima. That really happened
  • Little three-wheeled delivery vehicles
  • Chickens on the roof during a beautiful sunset in La Guajira
  • The way Shakira is reviled here almost as much as Bono is in Ireland
  • Tattoos: quality that ranges from works of art to those seemingly done with biros
  • How people from different regions are fiercely unique, yet somehow distinctly Colombian
  • The freshness and spirit of people here that comes as a total shock to anyone expecting doom and gloom after the previous difficult decades
  • People on buses offer to carry your bags if they’re sitting and you’re standing
  • The diversity of Colombia’s unforgettable, outrageously beautiful landscape

Learning about Colombian history and putting into context the violence and troubles, only to become more impressed and vicariously proud of what this country has achieved, and continues to achieve, in such a short space of time

Being able to come up with 500 completely distinct things that we love about Colombia, and not even cheatting on the last one

 

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Comments

Guest
Rosalba Consuegra Monday, 06 January 2014

Hurrah, I'm the first one to post a comment here? I'm soooooo thrilled to hear so many beautiful things about my country I'm ready to cry of happiness!!!!! I was born in Bucaramanga, left at 22 to live in the USA until I retired early four years ago and went back to live in Bucaramanga. Love it, love it. Adore my people!!!!! Very happy to hear you love my country. You'll always be loved by us!!!!!

Guest
jet longboards Saturday, 29 March 2014

Great information, I love all the posts, I really enjoyed, I would like more information about this, Because it is very nice, Thanks for sharing. I like the site best.
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Guest
Prasad Wednesday, 21 May 2014

HI Jet, I must say that these 500 reasons are really useful and encouraging to plan a trip to Colombia Still if you like more information about Colombia then please have a look at, http://www.joguru.com/colombia-south-america

Guest
Dong Shao Wednesday, 07 May 2014

How can someone resist himself from planning a Colombia trip itinerary after reading this post! ! !
I have heard so many praising words about Colombia and cities like Bogota, San Andres are in my wish list. After reading your wonderful post I have decided to plan my upcoming winter trip at Colombia. I will plan my itinerary very soon and I hope I would be there as soon as possible. I am sure it would be a memorable traveling experience.

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Guest Friday, 31 October 2014

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